Use of Google Street View for Feng Shui purposes
For many years I have used Google Earth aerial views to remotely determine a property’s compass reading. Google Earth shows true north at the top edge of your photos, but then makes a note of the longitude and latitude coordinates at the bottom of the page. With that information, you would go to the website of the National Geophysical Data Center to find out the magnetic declination of the area being viewed.
Aerial photos provide information on things that a consultant may not even be aware of when making an in-person assessment, such as pointing out which neighbors have a pool that could be affecting another property, such as a large body of water.
More recently, with Google Compass, the work is done for you if you follow the clicks to the end and you can see on a final page the comparison between true north and magnetic north, which they refer to as the “compass heading. “In a classical Feng Shui analysis, the use of a compass is essential for a proper reading. “The compass is to the geomancer what a telescope is to an astronomer,” to quote Feng Shui historian, practitioner and author Stephen Skinner.
As much as I appreciate these aerial photos, something was still missing and Google Street View has been another great application, to fill in the missing pieces, when doing remote analysis. Google Street View captures the scene at street level, and you can pan your view to see the property in question, up and down the street, and the land across the street.
This is an important feature in a Feng Shui analysis. For example, some houses benefit from having a higher ground level on the opposite side. If there is an upward slope, an actual mountain, or even a neighbor’s stone wall across the street, these are natural influences that can affect the health and well-being of the occupants. What is not always obvious or easy to see in aerial photos can be verified with Google Street View, such as the height or density of nearby trees, hedges, and other landscaping. The natural environment near a house or building can play an important role in manipulating or shoring up air currents.
Man-made features can also be evaluated, such as a roof line pointing towards a property or statues and the like that cannot be easily identified from an aerial perspective.
There is also something to be said for the visual “sha”. The word “sha” refers to something unpleasant, ugly, exhausting, or a condition that could undermine a person’s health or mental outlook. With Google Street View, you can sometimes clearly see the condition of a house and if there is any deterioration in the structure, what exterior colors are being used and all the images at ground level and a closer range than what aerial photos provide. . As another example, just with aerial photos, it is not always evident how many floors a building or house has, but this is clearly shown with Google Street View. There is always a relationship between structures and their comparative height is important.
These are essential tools for a feng shui practitioner, offering advice remotely. Of course, a person can take their own photos and hand them over to a consultant. But for a variety of reasons, Google Street View can provide instant information, especially if a prospective buyer or tenant is also not close to the property, to be the eyes of the long-distance Feng Shui consultant.
The Street View image also helps to locate the exact address of a property when the Google Earth marker simply lands in the center of the street.